29 July 2005

Sports Day 2005 – best ever performance but still only the bridesmaids...

On Friday 22 July two teams from the club embarked on the annual quest for six-a-side glory at the SPARTA Sportsday. Dodgers were represented by Neil Priest (c/wk), Simon Cousins, Phil McBarron, Rod Paterson, John Hilary and guest Darren Cooper. The Codgers were John Carr (c), John Cooper, Tawhid Qureshi and Kim Matthews (wk) who were joined by guests Cathal Rock and Richard Weider.

Dodgers Report by Neil Priest

My apologies if some of the following is a bit vague, but we don't have any scorecards for the games and it's hard to remember all the details. I did ask my team mates to check an early draft so any errors are entirely theirs!

Dodgers v LGF Jaffers

We won the toss and elected to bat first. Jaffers were expected to be the weakest side in an otherwise strong group and so it proved as Hilary and Cooper got the campaign off to a flying start racking up 71/1, Hilary being run out off the last ball. We followed this up with a good bowling fielding display, the highlight of which was McBarron's excellent throw in the first over to run out Paul Gaught who had scored 50 against us for Superstars earlier in the season. From then on Jaffers struggled and we kept them down to about 30/3.

Dodgers v SRA Sharks

Dodgers won the toss again and again decided to put runs on the board. Captain Priest was talked into opening to give Hilary a rest, although this was short lived as Priest soon dragged a wide one onto middle stump trying to hit over the top. After this brief interruption the Cooper/Hilary roadshow resumed and again posted us a score in excess of 70. Cooper then kicked off the SRA reply with wickets in consecutive balls and had an excellent shout for LBW turned down off the hat-trick ball. We then took our foot off the pedal and although a couple of decent SRA batsmen scored freely towards the end the result was never in serious doubt. SRA finished with about 60/3. This was undoubtedly Dodgers' worst performance of the day but we were still able to beat a decent side with relative ease.

Dodgers v Broadway

Our final group game was against a good side from Birmingham. Both teams were already through to the semi-finals having won their first two matches. The losers would face the trek over to the Fullers' pitch to face the mighty Deliverance in the semis.

Priest was late on parade - spying on Superstars v Deliverance, the deciding match in the other group – and in his absence Dodgers lost their first toss of the day and were inserted (we'd have batted anyway). McBarron was promoted to opener to make sure we had more than three batsmen who had had a hit before the semi-finals. Deja vu from the SRA game as Phil was out early and Cooper and Hilary were again left to get stuck into the opposition bowling. Priest joined in late on, a return to proper cricket shots instead of slogging providing more success than against SRA. Paterson was also able to get in at the end, playing one lovely dab for four behind square on the off. Yet again our bowling and fielding were excellent and the opposition managed less than 50 in reply. The highlight was Priest's superb legside stumping off Hilary off the last ball... well, the Cat was impressed anyway!

So we finished up as group winners having beaten two good sides along the way and now faced a tough semi-final against the auld enemy Superstars.

Semi-Final - Dodgers v Superstars

No need to read to the end to see how we got on. We won. And to put it mildly we were rather pleased with ourselves.

First let's put this into context. This is was about the fifth time we had played Superstars on Sportsday, including two finals (including last year). We had lost the lot. In fact, not only had we lost the lot but we had normally capitulated and been bowled out for 20 odd or other similar disasters. This was a real monkey on our backs.

With Priest back in charge of the coin we won the toss and again batted first. This time there was no mucking about with the batting order and Hilary returned to open. He and Cooper put together another promising partnership that was unfortunately cut short by some good Superstars bowling. Fortunately Priest and McBarron were able to keep some sort of momentum going and get us up to 50 – the highlight being a beautifully placed edge for four from McBarron off Gundry.

50 had been the minimum we considered we could defend but would it really be enough? (Of course it would, I’ve already said we won!). In the end it was easy and Superstars only managed about 30 odd in reply, hitting, I think, only one boundary in their innings. There were a couple of highlights. In the first over Cooper dropped a sharp return catch off Conway but had the presence of mind to grab the ball and turn round to run out non-striker Gigg. Phil McBarron's over also deserves special mention as he picked up the wickets of Gundry and Conway and effectively sealed the victory.

So celebrations all round – except for the poor dead monkey...

Final - Dodgers v Deliverance

Deliverance have always been a good side but in the past have relied almost
entirely on the huge talent of Richard Godden, a former Dodgers player (he also played for Zimbabwe U-19s but let's get our priorities right!). This year they had much more strength in depth although Richard was still clearly the star man. Deliverance had beaten everyone else on the day comfortably and had made Superstars look almost as ordinary as we had…

For the first time in the day Priest lost the toss and for the first time we bowled first. Godden opened and smashed Cooper's first ball for four. We did however get the dangerous Kenny Barry first ball. Cooper’s over was followed by tight overs from Cousins and Paterson and then with Deliverance on about 26 off 3 it was time for semi-final hero McBarron to step up to the plate, Godden at bat... The first ball was, as I'm sure Phil will admit, the worst we bowled all day. Short and slow, slow at least until it made contact with the middle of Godden's bat. Fortunately the adjacent softball tournament had finished, although he hit it so hard it probably would have cleared them anyway! The next ball was almost as bad – a knee high full toss on leg stump and the result was the same – softball players again grateful for their early finish. This time salt was rubbed into the wound as the umpire inexplicably called no ball – the only blot on an other wise excellent days umpiring. Sadly the extra 4 runs were to prove significant... Phil then settled down to a much steadier line and length and went a long way towards redeeming the over by bowling Godden neck and crop off the last ball of the over. This took some of the pressure off Hilary's final over and we were able to restrict Deliverance to a very gettable 58.

We again started steadily but were in trouble once Cooper and Hilary fell in quick succession. Some lusty blows from Priest ably supported by McBarron kept us in the hunt and we needed 18 off the last over. McBarron got the first ball away for a single. The next was pulled through midwicket by Priest for 4. The third was a wide (four extras but no extra ball) and then Priest swept the fourth ball for another four behind the square leg fielder. 6 off 2... Another short ball was pulled away by Priest – not middled but hit hard enough to the square leg fielder to leave Priest 6 yards short of his ground going for the second run. Paterson strode out with us needing 5 to win outright off the last ball, although a four would have given us victory by virtue of having lost less wickets and/or having scored more runs off the last over. The ball was wide of stump – play at it or leave it and hope it’s a wide…? Rod played it (correctly the umpire confirmed afterwards) but could only get it away for a single and Dodgers, for the third time, finished runners-up.

This was undoubtedly the best ever Sportsday performance by a Dodgers side. It was also the best Sportsday final I can remember playing in or watching. The highlights were for me were the batting of Hilary and Cooper, everyone’s fielding and bowling (Simon Cousins was especially accurate and gets less of a mention than he deserves in the above reports) and running a very good Deliverance side, who had hammered everyone else all day, so close in the final. As Rod pointed out though it will be a long coach trip from Swansea next year for them to come and defend their title... Oh, and did I mention we beat Superstars?

Codgers Report by John Carr

As you will have gathered from above, Codgers fared less well. This was hardly surprising. The team was not very strong and was drawn in the qualifying group from hell which included both the eventual winners - Deliverance - and Superstars. While Codgers predictably lost to both of these, they were not disgraced and managed to finish third in the group after a good win against the fourth team in the group - Broadway 2.

Codgers v Superstars

Skipper Carr inevitably lost the toss but, surprisingly, Barry Gigg decided to bowl first. After a reasonable start by Carr and Qureshi, things deteriorated when Tawhid was run out and a couple more wickets fell quickly. But Carr and Cooper with a few lusty blows managed to take us through to a score of 39 off our 5 overs. This was never likely to be enough with Superstars batting line up (and Codgers attack!) and so it proved with Superstars securing the win at the end of the third over.

Codgers v Broadway 2

Having seen Broadway's first game against Deliverance, Codgers recognised this match was likely to decide who would finish third in the group and who would receive the wooden spoon. Carr again lost the toss but, obligingly, Codgers were again inserted. This time, Carr and Qureshi managed to survive all 5 overs and posted a total of about 70 (this sounds better than it really was because Broadway contrived to gift us numerous extras and overthrows). Reasonable bowling performances from everybody saw us home by about 15 runs.

Codgers v Deliverance

The final game always threatened to be a mismatch but Codgers put up a good performance. Carr won the toss and decided to bat (on the basis that this was likely to get the game over quickly and we could at last get to the bar). Codgers struggled against tidy bowling and good fielding (Tawhid was again run out!) but useful contributions from Cooper and Rock saw us make about 36. Deciding to give some of their lower-order players some batting practice, Deliverance decided to reverse their batting order and at one stage we seemed to have a sniff. After two tight overs from Tawhid and JCII, Deliverance only had 11 runs. And, early in the next, guest Richard Weider secured a wicket. But that was as good as it got. A proper batter came to wicket, was promptly dropped (off Richard again), and then a blaze of boundaries saw Deliverance home with more than an over to spare.

28 July 2005

Dodgers vs New Barbarian Weasels 28 July 2004

2pm
35 overs

Innings of Dodgers

McBarron c&b Alexander 51
Qureshi c&b Michaels 34
Andrews b Alexander 29
Gill c Hurley b Owen 46
Hilary b Alexander 0
Benn c Hurley b Kirkwood 2
Crawford c Woodhead b Pagan 1
Bass b Kirkwood 22
Matthews not out 8
Cooper c Alexander b Kirkwood 0
Pope not out 0
______________________________________
Sub-total 193
Extras 6
Total 199

Weasels bowling

O M R W
Owen 7 1 35 1
Michaels 7 1 37 1
Alexander 7 0 35 3
Gibson 3 0 39 0
Kirkwood 7 1 20 3
Pagan 4 0 30 1

Innings of Weasels

Michaels c&b Benn 6
Carson c Hilary (J) b Bass 10
Woodhead c McBarron b Benn 6
Parker c Benn b Cooper 10
Alexander c Matthews b Hilary (J) 0
Owen c Qureshi b Cooper 0
Hurley run out 23
Gibson c Qureshi b Hilary (J) 14
Kirkwood c Bass b Hilary (J) 0
Smith run out 0
Pagan not out 0
________________________________________
Sub-total 92
Extras 23
Total 115

Dodgers bowling

O M R W
Benn 6 0 18 2
Bass 5 1 18 1
Cooper 6 0 18 2
Crawford 5 0 26 0
Hilary (J) 4 0 10 3
Pope 3 0 23 0
Andrews 1 1 0 0


Result: Dodgers won by 84 runs

Neil Benn writes: Dodgers got back to winning ways with a clear-cut victory against New Barbarian Weasels at Berrylands this afternoon, thereby avenging a similar-sized defeat last season.

Winning the toss, stand-in skipper McB opened the batting with Tawhid Qureshi. Their partnership was a revelation, notching up 75 at quicker than a-run-a-ball before Tawhid skied one and was caught for an excellent 34. McB completed a rapid 50 - easily his most fluent for Dodgers in recent years - before also being caught. Weasel's successful bowler was heard to bid McB a hearty farewell with a cheery gesture as he departed. Well something like that....

Replacements Chris Andrews (Dealers) and Jas Gill (ORR) kept up the pace before Andrews's departure for 29 sparked a dramatic collapse as Hilary, Benn and Crawford managed just three runs between them. Guest Bok Warren Bass steadied the ship before launching a quick 22 and Gill's eventual dismissal for 46 left us on 199-9 after our allotted 35 overs.

200 looked tough but getable on a very decent track, but Dodgers' performance in the field was awesome and they never really looked like threatening it. Benn (2-18) and Bass (1-15) made early inroads, Cooper (2-18) pressured the middle order, and Hilary (3-10) mopped up the tail. We had taken no fewer than 8 (eight!) catches - Qureshi (2), Benn (2), Matthews, Bass, McB and Hilary - and effected two run outs with only one chance grounded. If only it was like that every week!

The evenutual margn of 84 was a fair reflection of our dominance, though we certainly owe a debt of gratitude to the three guests who performed so well.

Notes: Man of the Match votes: McB - 3, Gill - 2, Andrews - 1, Bass - 1, Benn - 1, Cooper - 1, Qureshi - 1 (10 votes only)

24 July 2005

Sports Day 2005 - photo gallery

Yup. It's here.

Codgers didn't survive the Group of Death but finished a respectable third. Dodgers had an unbeaten run on their way to the final (memorably beat Superstars in the semi-final) but narrowly lost out to Deliverance.

Thanks to everyone who turned out especially Darren Cooper, Cathal Rock and Richard Weider without whom, etc.

21 July 2005

Sports Day 2005 - Chiswick / Fullers Ground 22 July

At the 11th hour the format of this year's Sports Day has been changed to 2 groups of 4. This means each team will have three games minimum but it also means kick off will now be at 11.30 so can everyone please be there for 11.15 at the Fullers Ground.

At least one of Dodgers or Codgers will be playing then, if not both, but we will not know for sure until we arrive. If anyone can't get there that extra half hour early please let me Neil P, JC or JC2 know asap. Thanks and see you there tomorrow.

Provisional teams

Dodgers

Priest
Paterson
Cooper (D)
Hilary
Cousins
McBarron

Codgers

Carr
Weider
Rock
Qureshi
Matthews
Cooper (J)

15 July 2005

Dodgers v Science Museum @ Parsons Green 14 July 2005

Match report by Simon Cousins

Dodgers won the toss (!) and elected to bat

Dodgers returned to winning ways with a comfortable 39 run win against
Science Museum at Parsons Green last night.

Dodgers batted first, and it immediately became clear that the wicket was a minefield. As early as the third over, Harrison was forced to hook a good length ball off his eyebrows. The next ball pitched on the same length and decapitated a number of daisies. Fortunately the Science Museum bowlers failed to make use of the wicket - indeed they often failed to locate the wicket, as the final tally of 42 extras suggests.

However, none of the Dodgers batsmen looked comfortable, only Harrison coming close, using his feet well until he was undone by a vicious leg-cutter. Qureshi played sensibly and timed a couple of shots beautifully off his legs, and McBarron, nurdled well, demonstrating some effective shovel-round-the-corner shots.

A rare moment of excitement came when the Science Museum Star Batsmen disappeared into one of the many outfield potholes, and emerged with a twisted ankle. As supersub Hilary jogged onto the outfield, Qureshi ruefully regaled the opposition with the tale of how supersub Hilary recently cut short one of his more promising innings with a stunning catch. There was clearly static in the air, as within an over the lightening had struck twice, Hilary holding onto a head-high, stinging Qureshi off drive.

Patterson provided some late impetus with hefty agricultural hitting before running himself out off the last ball of the penultimate over. It seemed inexplicable, but apparently he'd heard some of the senior Dodgers players talking about 1919 cricket, and thought we were playing a new form of the limited-overs game.

A target of 142 always looked likely to be too much for Science Museum, and so it proved. Within a few overs the match was effectively over as Cousins took three cheap wickets. The Science Museum middle-order rallied with some impressively powerful straight hitting. But Cooper, after an untidy first over bowled with his customary control, picking up two wickets in the process. In fading light, Dodgers fielding was ragged, though Paterson gave an impressive debut display behind the stumps, including a fine leg-side catch. Maybe soon the selectors will be faced with a difficult choice between the athleticism of the young pretender and the wiles of Matthews. As the match fizzled to its predictable conclusion, there was time for Dunning to bowl two impressive overs, and with the owls starting to hoot, Dodgers emerged victorious.

Dodgers won by 39 runs

06 July 2005

Out-classed

Dodgers’ winning run came to an abrupt halt last night as we were completely out-classed – again – by English Heritage. The match was in doubt right up to the first ball as heavy showers drenched Chiswick. The toss was actually made inside the wooden hut and Heritage chose to bowl with indecent haste. It was a fine choice.

Dodgers opened with the two Neils – Mr Priest sporting an average of more than 300 this season and Mr Benn a desperate choice because we only had seven at the ground as late as 6.30pm. Both struggled early on as very accurate bowling spat off the wet pitch and the score reached just 16 after 8 overs, the only incident being a long-running drama concerning the position of a sightscreen.

A wayward ninth over helped before Benn chipped a full toss to mid off and was caught acrobatically for 13 with the score on 32. JJ Dunning was next and clobbered a couple of fours as Priest found some form, but neither man was really timing the ball consistently and we closed on 87 for 1 – Priest reaching 40 and Dunning 22.

We might have defended 87 against some teams, but not this lot. The track was moderately drier and easier and from the off they worked the ball around with ease. John Cooper had received some stick for suggesting his inferior alter ego last week was a South African, Jean Van Der Kuyper – more like the Bangladeshi Javed Coupar quipped Priest – but whoever was playing they struggled to get a length again and conceded 25 off three.

At the other end Rod Paterson was bowling with much better rhythm than of late and deservedly picked up a scalp when the batsman tried to out-psyche him during his run-up and was duly out out-psyched in turn, chipping a simple catch to Cooper at square leg. Adey continued where he left off last week conceding only 10 in his two overs, but a reluctant McBarron was despatched to all parts in his 2.4 overs to bring the end in just the twelfth over by conceding a quick 28.

We’d had the worst of the conditions and – most disappointingly – two selected players simply didn’t turn up, but there was no hiding Heritage’s clear superiority in all aspects of this game.

05 July 2005

Dodgers v Audit Commission @ Regents Park, 7 July

The venue for Thursday's match v Audit is now confirmed as Regents Park, Pitch C2.

Download detailed map [pdf format]

Now all we need is a team! ;-)

01 July 2005

Four-in-a-row

Dodgers completed a four-timer last night against Science Museum under leaden skies at South Park.

JC won the toss for once and we sensibly took the field. The South Park track was a classic: no metal stakes on a length this time, but plenty of humps and bumps to keep everyone interested. Dodgers began with a new opening pair: Messrs Adey and Cooper. Predictably one was accurate and grabbed a brace of wickets thanks in part to an athletic caught-and-bowled, the other bowled far too short but still managed a wicket from a catch by JC. Ah! But they were the other way round: Adey with an exceptional 4-2-6-2 and Cooper struggled with 3-0-24-1.

The opening spells actually set the tone for the match. Science swung from the hip at almost every opportunity: if it was full they looked all at sea; if it was short it sat up and begged to be hit. Benn (4-1-10-1) was accurate, but Science’s number six Pickworth took a heavy toll of Pope (2 overs for 30), Rhys Thomas (3 overs for 20) and David Patterson (2 overs for 18) on his way to 48*. Nick Harrison was called into the attack by JC – reluctantly in the conditions – and recorded 2-0-6-1 as Science ended on 112.

We’ve struggled here in the past, but it never looked like being close. Priest was getting desperately frustrated as he tried to hit the ball harder and harder and was hitting it less and less well (but still scored at a decent pace) while at the other end Harrison was in imperious form, spanking a six and a succession of sweetly-timed fours against some ragged bowling.

Nick was actually dropped from a very difficult chance in mid-innings but the boys added over 100 to their 183* stand against the Rats last week before Nick retired having reached 50. The Cat was able to please the crowd with a couple of trademark nurdles before Priest hit the winning runs in the fourteenth over.

In truth, this was a very poor game in very poor conditions, though the pitch did not misbehave anywhere near as badly as expected. Our line-up wasn’t great (missing McBarron, Hilary and Cousins among others) and our bowling was wayward at times, with Cooper and Pope well below their best, but we still won in a canter against a lacklustre Science Museum side.